Massacre at Goliad--Diverse Accounts
For Biographies, Search Handbook of Texas Online
It was in the year 1870 that Andrew A. Boyle (previously known as Andrew Michael O'Boyle), a son of San Patricio and a Texian soldier when he was eighteen, lay in his bed three months before his death in Los Angeles, then a small town in the Southern California desert. He had summoned his daughter to fetch her pen and paper, for he had a story that he had carried in his memory but had neglected to put on paper during his action-filled life. He realized that now was his last chance to make his contribution as an eyewitness to the Goliad Massacre on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, from which he had been spared by a twist of fate-more accurately, a kind Providence. From The Forgotten Colony: San Patricio de Hibernia by Rachel Bluntzer Hébert
Reminescenses of the Texas Revolution
These recollections of the Texas revolution were dictated by Andrew A. Boyle in 1870, just before his death, to his daughter, Mrs. W. B. Workman. For the manuscript The Quarterly is indebted to his granddaughter, Miss Gertrude Dardin Workman. Although Mr. Boyle's memory of details was inaccurate, the paper is important in two particulars: (1) it adds another witness to the list of Texan participants who have unanimously testified that Fannin did not surrender at discretion, as General Urrea claimed, and (2) it gives a first hand account of the execution of the wounded prisoners at Goliad.
On the seventh day of January, 1836, at San Patricio de las Nueces, I enlisted in Captain Westover's battery (the first company of regular artillery in the Texas army). Our command was soon after ordered to Goliad, where it was incorporated with the forces commanded by Colonel Fannin. Colonels Bowie and Crockett, then in command of the Alamo, sent a courier to Colonel Fannin in the latter part of February, asking him for reinforcements [The regulars at the Alamo were commanded by Travis, the volunteers by Bowie. Crockett held no official position--Ed.]. A hundred men [Contemporary statements place this number between three and four hundred men--Ed.] were at once detailed, and had crossed the San Antonio river on their way to the assistance of the doomed garrison, when they were recalled on account of a report brought in by a scout named "Comanche," of the advance of the Mexican army under General Urrea, toward San Patricio. The main body of the enemy, under Santa Anna, had marched directly from Laredo upon San Antonio. Our commander, by the advice of "Comanche," determined to march to San Patricio, leaving one company in garrison at Goliad. The character of the scout was notoriously bad, and Colonel Fannin was informed of the fact, but gave no heed to the warning, although two of us volunteered to go to San Patricio and ascertain the truth of the report. Three days' rations were distributed, and everything was in readiness to commence the march the next morning, when an American named Ayres arrived from the Old Mission, some fifteen miles distant in the direction of San Patricio, and brought reliable news of the arrival of the Mexicans at that place, and of their maltreating all Americans there, bearing themselves with special insolence toward the women. Colonel Fannin immediately dispatched Captain King with a party of twenty men to remove all American women and children to our fort. Captain King was surrounded by a superior force of the enemy, but cut his way through them and retreated to the Old Mission Church, from which point he sent a messenger to Colonel Fannin, stating his position and asking for reinforcements. Fannin sent Colonel Ward, with his Georgia Battalion, to King's assistance. On Ward's arrival at the Mission Church, a difference of opinion arose as to who should command the whole force. Not being able to come to any agreement, they separated; Ward retreating in a southeasterly direction for some distance, and then striking for the San Antonio river with the intention of joining us. King got out of the church, and after a skirmish with the Mexicans, retreated on the direct road to Goliad. He and his men were taken prisoners, tied together with rawhide, and shot immediately. We heard of the surrender and killing of King and his men, and the retreat of Colonel Ward in the direction above mentioned, and were in daily expectation of Ward's command arriving at Goliad. About the 8th or 9th of March we heard of the fall of the Alamo and the killing of Colonels Bowie and Crockett and all their men. Colonels Bowie and Crockett having refused all propositions for surrender or capitulazition, the garrison held out until reduced to seven men, who asked for quarter and were refused. [Ramon Martinez Caro, Santa Anna's secretary, says that after the Alamo was taken five men who had hidden themselves during the action surrendered to General Castrillon, but were shot by Santa Anna's order--Ed]
On the 17th of March the enemy appeared on the opposite side of the river. We sent over a skirmishing party of one company (under Captain Shackelford's command, I think), who had an engagement with the enemy, we watching from the ramparts with the most intense anxiety. They were recalled by Colonel Fannin, after the enemy's retreat to the Old Mission Church. On the following day the enemy appeared in force at the same place, and orders were given by Colonel Fannin to bake bread sufficient for several days, and carry dried beef sufficient for the same length of time. The guns were taken down from the bastions, and orders were also given to be ready to march before daylight in the morning.
From cause unknown to me, we did not evacuate the fort until between 8 and 9 o'clock next morning. We marched down the river and crossed at a ford below, which was effected without difficulty. Our object in crossing at the lower instead of the upper ford in front of the Old Mission, was to avoid, if possible, an action with the enemy (he outnumbering us at least six to one), and to get into the interior of Texas and join Houston's army. We continued our march until we crossed a creek called Manawee (Manahuilla), distant from the crossing about three miles. We traveled slowly, our cannon and baggage wagons being drawn by oxen. A halt was called and we ate some breakfast.
After breakfast, the march was continued; nothing new transpiring until about half past twelve o'clock; the Mexican army was then descried on our left and rear; their cavalry approached us rapidly, seemingly with the intention of cutting us off from the timber of the Coleto creek; they fired a few shots at us, when Colonel Fannin exclaimed (I was standing close by him at the time), "That's the signal for battle; I won't retreat another foot." We then unlimbered our pieces, being six in number, formed ourselves into a hollow square, placing the baggage wagons, hospital wagon and magazine in the centre; we remained in this position five or ten minutes, when Colonel Fannin, seeing clearly the main object of the enemy was to cut us off from the timber, ordered us to limber up again and continue the march. We left the road, marching in an oblique direction to the left toward the nearest timber; when within as well as I can recollect, three quarters or one mile of the timber, the enemy's infantry overtook us and we were obliged to halt. We formed as previously, our little force then not numbering more than 311 men, maintained an action from half past one o'clock, P. M., and fought until near dark, when the enemy retreated, leaving twenty-five of us killed and wounded.
I had been shot in the right leg at about half past three in the afternoon. Our real trouble commenced after the retreat of the enemy, and arose principally from the want of water, from which the wounded especially suffered severely. A few of our men dug for water while the rest were throwing up intrenchments, as we expected to renew the battle on the following day. In the fight just finished we had killed our oxen and used the carcasses for breastworks. I lay that night near Colonel Fannin, who had been slightly wounded in the thigh. I remember his good-naturedly offering me his "good leg for a pillow."
In the morning the Mexicans again advanced, largely reinforced from General Santa Anna's division, and well supplied with artillery. After firing a few round shot, all of which passed over our heads, they hoisted a white flag, which we answered. A consultation of officers was held, at which it was concluded to capitulate, as preferable to attempting to prolong a hopeless struggle. Our wounded men were on our hands, and suffering; we had no means of caring for them, and Colonel Fannin strongly expressed his determination not to abandon them. Two officers from each army then met in parley and agreed upon articles of capitulation, guaranteeing our lives and personal property. We agreed to give up all government property in our possession, and to remain prisoners of war until honorably exchanged or sent to the United States, upon parole never to return to Texas. These articles were signed by both parties, and the surrender was completed. Those of our command able to march were at once taken to Goliad, the wounded waiting two or three days for Mexican carts. Our sufferings were intense, on account of the heat of the sun, thirst, and want of medical attention. Upon our arrival at Goliad we--the wounded---were placed in the hospital; the rest of the command was guarded in the yard of the fort. Just one week after the surrender, all the wounded men were marched out of the fort in separate divisions and shot.
Soon after, a Mexican officer came into the hospital, and ordered me to tell all those able to walk to go outside. I interpreted for him, and the men commenced gathering up their blankets. In the meantime, four Mexican soldiers came in and began to carry out those who were too severely wounded to walk. I was assisted by two comrades who were but slightly wounded. As we passed the door, an officer told me we were all to be shot. This I told the men. The wounded were placed in the corner of the yard upon which the church door fronts. A company of soldiers formed in front of us and loaded their pieces with ball cartridge. Then a file of men under a corporal took two of our number, marched them out toward the company, and after bandaging their eyes, made them lie with their faces to the ground, after which, placing the muzzles close to their heads, they shot them as they lay. At this time an officer, apparently of distinction, came into the yard and asked in a loud voice, in English, whether any one named Boyle was there or not. I was near him as he entered, and answered at once. He then ordered an officer to take me to the officers' hospital and have my wound attended to, saying that he would call upon me there. When I arrived at the hospital the Mexican officers seemed kindly disposed to me, and gave me a pair of "armas de pelo" to lie on. Mr. Brooks, Aid to Colonel Fannin, was there at the time, with his thigh badly shattered near the hip. I found him entirely ignorant of what had been going on. Upon being informed he said, "I suppose it will be our turn next." In less than five minutes four Mexicans carried him out, cot and all, placed him in the street not fifteen feet from the door, in a position in which I could not avoid seeing him, and there shot him. His body was instantly rifled of his gold watch, stripped, and thrown into a pit at the side of the street. Colonel Ward and his command, who had been captured between the Lavaca and Navidad rivers a few days after our surrender, were also shot. The whole number of men thus barbarously executed was, according to Mexican report, four hundred and seventeen [The real number seems to have been between three hundred and twenty and three hundred and thirty--Ed].
A few hours after the murder of Mr. Brooks, the officer who had asked me in the yard came into the hospital. Addressing me in English he said: "Make your mind easy, Sir; your life is spared." I asked if I might inquire the name of the person to whom I was indebted for my life. "Certainly," said he, "my name is General Francisco Garay, second in command of Urrea's division." He had taken my name and description from my sister, Mary, at whose house he had been quartered while his division occupied San Patricio, and by whom and my brother Roderick he had been kindly treated. She and my brother had refused all remuneration from him, only asking that if I should ever fall into his hands I should be kindly treated. The General informed me that he himself was on the eve of departure to join General Urrea, but that he had given orders to General Portillo, commandant of the garrison, to furnish me a passport whenever I should call for it. With this he took his leave. The passport was obtained without difficulty in pursuance of the order given by General Garay, and I secured passage in an ox-cart to the Mission and thence to San Patricio, where I remained.
We knew nothing of the battle of San Jacinto until about the 28th of April, although we had noticed Mexican troops traveling towards the Rio Grande. A dragoon rode up one day and asked me to sell him two bits' worth of dried meat; I offered to give him all the meat he might want if he would answer a few questions. He consented, and I learned for the first time that a battle had been fought on the 21st near San Jacinto Creek, and that the result had been disastrous to the invading army; that General Santa Anna had been taken prisoner, and that the Americans had seemed inclined to give no quarter, charging with the cry of "Alamo and Fannin." The remains of the Mexican forces engaged, as well as General Urrea's division, which had been stationed at Brazoria, were in full retreat. The effect of such glad news upon my feelings may be imagined. General Garay arrived a few days afterwards, and called to see us as he passed hastily through town. At his request, I accompanied him to Matamoras. Upon arriving there, he explained that stringent orders had been given to the effect that no American, who had been at any time a prisoner in Mexican hands, should be suffered to remain in Texas. He also informed me that all prisoners were to be closely confined, but that he would allow me the freedom of the city, upon my giving my parole not to attempt to escape. About three weeks afterward, the General invited me to accompany him to the City of Mexico, stating that I should no longer be considered as a prisoner, in case I accepted his offer, which was accompanied with the most profuse offers of friendship and assistance. Notwithstanding the gratitude which I naturally felt toward the preserver of my own life, I was compelled to decline, on account of my anxiety to see my relatives in the United States. At my urgent solicitation, General Garay then released me from my parole, and left me free to control my own movements. I concluded to start on foot for Brazos Santiago, but experienced great difficulty in procuring from the alcalde the necessary permit to leave the city. I was afraid to apply to him directly, and all the American and Irish residents strongly remonstrated against my doing so. I finally succeeded in passing myself as the son of an old Irishman who had obtained a passport for New Orleans, and had myself included in it; afterwards I had a separate document made out for myself. The next day I took passage on a brig at Brazos Santiago, and six days after, landed at New Orleans. I at once visited the Texas Consul in that city, Mr. Bryan, but found that he could do for me nothing more than to furnish a free pass to Texas [Bryan was not officially a consul, because at that time the United States had not recognized the independence of Texas, but he discharged many of the duties of a consul--Ed].
Being out of money and in rags, I was compelled to seek employment. I engaged with a painter for two dollars and a half a day, and went to work painting St. Mary's Market, though I had never painted except in water colors. I worked eleven days, at the expiration of which time I drew my money, purchased some clothes, and accepted Mr. Bryan's offer. He procured me passage an a schooner for the mouth of the Brazos river, where I landed in a few days. General Burnet, the first President of the Republic of Texas, then living at Velasco, gave me a letter to General Rusk, at that time commanding the army on the Guadalupe River. I walked to General Rusk's camp, a distance of a hundred and fifty miles, in five days. He was in daily expectation of the advance of the Mexicans, but excused me, on account of my impaired health, from further service in the army. I had a severe attack of fever and ague in Victoria, where General Rusk's headquarters were. As soon as I recovered, I went to Columbia, then the seat of government, and obtained a passport for New Orleans.
Los Angeles, December 15th, 1870.
Reprinted from Boyle, Andrew A. The Retreat from Goliad. (Pamphlet from Reminiscences of the Texas Revolution in the Texas Historical Association), The Union National Bank, Houston, TX, 1933.
Here ends the reminiscences of Andrew O'Boyle. He had left Texas not to return; it was the end of an era in his life. He had dropped the "Michael" and substituted the initial "A" and he had dropped the "O" from O'Boyle. Henceforth he was to be known as Andrew A. Boyle, a prosperous merchant and trader in New Orleans; so much so, that he was able to open stores elsewhere. While he was opening one in Red River in upper Louisiana, he found his errant father, brought him to New Orleans and got Anne and Mary to keep house for him. In 1846 he married Maria Christie of New Orleans. Two children were born to their marriage, a daughter Maria and a son, John, in 1847 and 1849 respectively. Two months after the birth of John, Boyle was returning from Mexico with a box of silver coins, and while transferring the box from a small boat to a streamer, the small boat capsized, and the box sank. Boyle remained at the port for several days while divers tried unsuccessfully to recover the money. Meanwhile, the rumor that Boyle had lost his life reached his wife. The young Mrs. Boyle died of "grief" before he could return to her. Baby John died soon afterwards. The grief-stricken businessman left New Orleans in 1851, then journeyed to Boston where he purchased a stock of shoes to take to San Francisco to open a store---Hobart and Boyle. Seven years later he moved to Los Angeles, then a small town. From Thomas Rubio he bought a tract of land east of the city. This land under a bluff and containing a vineyard later became known as Boyle Heights. Active in the early life and progress of Los Angeles, Boyle was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. His insistence in limiting the number of years the city's franchise could be held by a private company eventually led to the municipal ownership of the city's water system. Water is essential to the growth of any city and so it was to Los Angeles. Having seen his daughter Maria happily married in 1867, Andrew Boyle expired February 9, 1871, at his home with his daughter Maria present, then Mrs. W.H. Workman of Los Angeles. It is the destiny of some sojourners on this planet earth to have a life so filled with adventure, escapes, hardships, and grief intermingled with joy, that it would fill the life span of many older than 52-year old Andrew Boyle. As his life attests, the Irish who came to Texas under the auspices of McMullen and McGloin scattered but left their mark on distant places. From The Forgotten Colony: San Patricio de Hibernia by Rachel Bluntzer Hébert
Escape of the Four Alabama Red Rovers
Dillard Cooper's Remembrances of the Fannin Massacre
......several....cried out for mercy. I remember one, a young man, who had been noted for his piety, but who had afterwards become somewhat demoralized by bad company, falling on his knees, crying aloud to God for mercy, and forgiveness. Others, attempted to plead with their inhuman captors, but their pleadings were in vain.....On my right hand, stood Wilson Simpson, and on my left, Robert Fenner....while some of them were rending the air with their cries of agonized despair, Fenner called out to them, saying: "Don't take on so, boys; if we have to die, let's die like brave men.....At that moment, I glanced over my shoulder and saw the flash of a musket.....
On the morning of the 27th of March, 1836, about daylight, we were awakened by the guards, and marched out in front of the fort, where we were counted and divided into three different detachments, We had been given to understand that we were to be marched to Capono, and from there shipped to New Orleans. The impression, however, had in some way been circulated among us, that we were to be sent out that morning to hunt cattle; though I thought at the time that it could not be so, as it was but a poor way, to hunt cattle on foot.
Our detachment was marched out in double file, each prisoner being guarded by two soldiers, until within about half a mile southwest of the fort, we arrived at a brush fence, built by the Mexicans. We were then placed in single file, and were half way between the guard and the fence, eight feet each way. We were then halted, when the commanding officer came up to the head of the line, and asked if there were any of us who understood Spanish. By this time, there began to dawn upon the minds of us, the truth, that we were to be butchered, and that, I suppose, was the reason that none answered. He then ordered us to turn our backs to the guards. When the order was given not one moved, and then the officer, stepping up to the man at, the head of the column, took him by the shoulders and turned him around.
By this time, despair had seized upon our poor boys, and several of them cried out for mercy. I remember one, a young man, who had been noted for his piety, but who had afterwards become somewhat demoralized by bad company, falling on his knees, crying aloud to God for mercy, and forgiveness. Others, attempted to plead with their inhuman captors, but their pleadings were in vain, for on their faces no gleam of piety was seen for the defenseless men who stood before them. On my right hand, stood Wilson Simpson, and on my left, Robert Fenner. In the midst of the panic of terror which seized our men, and while some of them were rending the air with their cries of agonized despair, Fenner called out to them, saying: "Don't take on so, boys; if we have to die, let's die like brave men."
At that moment, I glanced over my shoulder and saw the flash of a musket; I instantly threw myself forward on the ground, resting on my hands. Robert Fenner must have been instantly killed, for he fell with such force upon me as almost to throw me over as I attempted to rise, which detained me a few moments in my flight, so that Simpson, my companion on the right, got the start of me. As we ran towards an opening in the brush fence, which was almost in front of us, Simpson got through first, and I was immediately after him. I wore, at that time, a small, round cloak, which was fastened with a clasp at the throat. As I ran through the opening, an officer charged upon me, and ran his sword through my cloak, which would have held me, but I caught the clasp with both hands, and tore it apart, and the cloak fell from me. There was an open prairie, about two miles wide, through which I would have to run before I could reach the nearest timber, which was a little southwest of the place from where we started.
I gained on my pursuers, but saw, between me and the timber, three others, who were after Simpson. As I neared the timber, I commenced walking, in order to recover my strength, before I came near them. When he first started, we were all near together, but as Simpson took a direct course across the prairie, I, in order to avoid his pursuers, took a circuitous course. There were two points of timber projecting into the prairie, one of which was nearer to me than the other. I was making for the furthest point, but as Simpson entered the timber, his pursuers halted, and then ran across and cut me off, I then started for the point into which Simpson had entered, but they turned and cut me oft from that. I then stopped running and commenced walking slowly between them and the other point. They, no doubt, thinking I was about to surrender myself, stopped, and I continued to walk within about sixty yards of them, when I suddenly wheeled and ran into the point for which I had first started. They did not attempt to follow me, but just as I was about to enter the timber, they fired, the bullets whistling over my head caused me to draw my head down as I ran.
As soon as I entered the timber, I saw Simpson waiting and beckoning to me. I went towards him, and we ran together for about two miles, when we reached the river. We then stopped and consulted as to the best way of concealing ourselves. I proposed climbing a tree, but he objected, saying that should the Mexicans discover us, we would have no way of making our escape. Before we arrived at any conclusion, we heard some one coming, which frightened us so, that I jumped into the river, while Simpson ran a short distance up it, but seeing me, he also jumped in. The noise proceeded from the bank immediately above the spot where Simpson was, and I could see the place very plainly, and soon discovered that two of our companions had made their escape to this place. They were Zachariah Brooks, and Isaac Hamilton. In the fleshy part of both Hamilton's thighs were wounds, one made by a gun-shot and another by a bayonet.
We all swam the river, and traveling up it a short distance, arrived at a bluff bank, near which was a thick screen of bushes, where we concealed ourselves. The place was about five miles above the fort. We did not dare proceed further that day, as the Mexicans were still searching for us, and Hamilton's wounds had become so painful as to prevent his walking, which obliged us to carry him. We remained there until about 10 o'clock that night, when we started forth, Simpson and myself carrying Hamilton, Brooks, though severely wounded, was yet able to travel. We had to proceed very cautiously and rather slowly.
Fort La Bahia being southeast of us, and the point we were making for, was about where Goliad now stands. We proceeded, in a circuitous route in a northeasterly direction. We approached within a short distance of the fort, and could not at first account for the numerous fires we saw blazing. We were not long in doubt, for the sickening smell that was borne towards us by the south wind, informed us too well that they were burning the bodies of our companions. And, here, I will state what Mrs. Cash, who was kept a prisoner, stated afterwards; that some of our men were thrown into the flames and burned alive. We passed the fort safely, and reached a spring, where we rested from our journey and from whence we proceeded on our travels.
But the night was foggy, and becoming bewildered, it was not long before we found ourselves at the spring from which we started. We again started out, and again found ourselves at the same place; but we had too much at stake to sink into despondency. So once more took our wounded companion, thinking we could not miss the right direction this time; but, at last when day began to break, to our great consternation, we found we had been traveling around the same spot, and were for the third time back at the identical spring from which we had at first set forth. It was now impossible to proceed further that day, as we dared not travel during the day, knowing we should be discovered by the Mexicans. We therefore concealed ourselves by the side of a slight elevation, amidst a thick undergrowth of bushes.
By this time, we began to grow very hungry, and I remembered an elm bush that grew at the entrance of the timber where we were concealed, which formed an excellent commissary for us, and from the branches of which we partook, until nearly every limb was entirely stripped. About 9 o'clock that morning, we heard the heavy tramp of the Mexican army on the march; and they not long after that passed within a stone's throw of our place of concealment. It seems indeed, that we were guided by an over-ruling providence in not being able to proceed further that night, for as we were not expecting the Mexican army so soon, we would probably have been overtaken and discovered by them, perhaps in some prairie, where we could not have escaped.
We remained in our hiding place the rest of the day, and resumed our journey after dark, still carrying our wounded companion. Whenever the enemy passed us, we had to conceal ourselves; and we laid several days in ponds of mud and water, with nothing but our heads exposed to view. When in the vicinity of Lavacca, we again got ahead of the Mexicans; and, after traveling all night, we discovered, very early in the morning of the ninth day, a house within a few hundred yards of the river. We approached it, and found the inhabitants had fled. When we entered the house, we discovered a quantity of corn, some chickens, and a good many eggs lying about in different places. Our stomachs were weak and revolted at the idea of eating them raw, so we looked about for some means of striking a fire, first searching for a rock, but failing to find one, we took an old chisel and ground it on a grindstone for about two hours, but could never succeed in getting the sparks to catch. We then concluded to return and try the eggs raw.
We had taken one, and Simpson was putting on his shoes, which he had taken off to rest his feet, which were raw and bleeding, and had just got one on when he remarked: "Boys, we would be in a tight place if the Mexicans were to come upon us now." So saying, he walked to the window, when to his horror, there was the whole Mexican army not more than a mile and a half off, and fifteen or twenty horsemen coming at full speed within a hundred yards of us. We took up our wounded man and ran to the timber, which was not far off, Simpson leaving his shoe behind him. We got into the timber and concealed ourselves between the logs of two trees, the tops of which having fallen together, and being very thickly covered with leaves and moss, formed an almost impenetrable screen above and around us. We had scarcely hidden ourselves from view, when the Mexicans came swarming around us, shouting and hallooing through the woods, but did not find us. We heard them from time to time, all throughout the day and next night. The next morning, just before day, the noise of the Mexicans ceased, and we concluded they had left. Simpson then asked me to go with him to get his shoe, as it would be difficult for him to travel without it, and I consented to do so. We went out to the edge of the timber and stopped some time to take observations before proceeding further. Seeing nothing of the Mexicans, we proceeded to the house, found the shoe, and possessing ourselves of a couple of ears of corn, and a bottle of water, we returned to our companions. We had no doubt that the Mexicans had gone, so we sat down and drank the water and ate an ear of corn, when Brooks asked Simpson to go with him to the house, saying he would get a chicken, and we could eat it raw. They started, and had hardly got to the edge of the timber when I heard the sound of horses feet, and directly afterwards the Mexicans were to be seen in every direction. I was sure they had captured Simpson and Brooks. Soon I heard something in the brush near us, but did not know whether it was the boys or Mexicans, but it turned out to be the boys, who crept undercover, and, in a few minutes, four Mexicans came riding by, passing within a few feet of where we were lying, with our faces to the ground.
After going into the woods a short distance they turned and passed out again, but it was not long after when six of them came riding quite close, three on each side of us, and leaning down and peering into our hiding place. It seemed to me they could have heard us, for my own heart seemed to raise me almost from the ground by its throbbings. I felt more frightened than I ever had been before; for at the time of the massacre, every thing had come on me so suddenly that my nerves had no time to become unstrung as they now were. The Mexicans passed and repassed us, through the day, so we dared not move from our hiding place. A guard was placed around us the following night, the main body having, no doubt, gone on, and left a detachment to search for us. I think they must have had some idea of our being some of Fannin's men, or they would scarcely have gone to that trouble. About 10 o'clock that night we held a consultation, and I told my companions it would not do to remain there any longer, as the Mexicans were aware of our place of concealment, and would surely discover us the next day. We all decided then to leave, and they requested me to lead the way out. I told them we would have to crawl through the timber and a short piece of prairie, until we crossed the road near which the Mexicans were posted; that they must be careful to remove every leaf and stick in the path, and to hold their feet up, only crawling on their hands and knees, as the least noise would betray us to the enemy.
I was somewhat acquainted with the locality; for we were now not far from Texana, and I had some times hunted along these woods. Thus I led the way. Hamilton's wounds were so painful that we could move only slowly, and we must have been two hours crawling about 200 yards. When we at length passed the timber and reached the road, I stopped to make a careful survey of the situation. I could see the Mexicans placed along the road, about a hundred yards on each side of us. The moon was shining, but had sunk towards the west, which threw the shadow of a point of timber across the road, and concealed us from view. It would have been hard to discover us from the color of our clothes, as the earthy element with which they were mixed had entirely hidden the original fabric. We continued to crawl, until we reached a sufficient distance not to be discovered, when we rose up and walked. Although Hamilton had, with a great deal of pain, managed to crawl, yet it was impossible for him to walk, and his wounds had by this time become so much irritated and inflamed that he could scarcely bear to be carried. We traveled that night only a short distance, and hid ourselves in a thicket near a pond of water. Brooks had been trying to persuade me to leave Hamilton; but, although our progress was impeded by having to carry him, I could not entertain the idea for a moment. I indignantly refused, but still he would seize every opportunity to urge it upon me. He said it would be impossible for us to escape, burdened as we were with Hamilton. I could only acknowledge the truth of this, for it was a desperate case with us. The foe was around us in every direction. Brooks, finding that I was not to be persuaded, then attempted to influence Simpson.
On the tenth day out, they took the bottle and went to the pond near by, for water. As they were returning, (I suppose Brooks did not know he was so near the place they left us), both Hamilton and myself heard Brooks urging Simpson to leave him. He told him if we remained with Hamilton, we would certainly lose our lives; but there was some slight chance of escaping, if we left him, and that Hamilton's wounds had become so much worse that he was bound to die, unless he could have rest; and, as we were doing him no good, and ourselves a great deal of injury by carrying him, it was, our duty to leave him. Now Brooks had never carried him a step; Simpson and myself having done that; yet Brooks was the first who had ever proposed leaving him; and, although there was a great deal of truth in what he was saying, yet I felt quite angry with him, as I heard him trying to persuade Simpson. Hamilton did not say a word to them when they came in, but sat with his face buried in his hands a long time.
At length, he looked up, and said: "Boys, Brooks has told you the truth; I can not travel any further, and if you stay with me, all will be killed. Go and leave me, boys; if I have rest I may recover, and if I ever should get off safe, you shall hear from me again." He spoke so reasonably, and we were so thoroughly convinced of the truth of what he said, after a brief consultation, we decided to depart without him. Hamilton had known Brooks in Alabama; he called him to him, and gave him a gold watch and $40 in gold, telling him to give it to his mother. We then bade Hamilton farewell, all of us shedding tears as we parted, but when we turned to go, my resolution failed me, and I could not find it in my heart to leave him. I said: "Boys, don't let us leave him." But Simpson and Brooks said that we could do neither him nor ourselves any good by remaining, and that they were determined to go. I told them I would remain with him, and do the best I could for him. So they started off without me; but Hamilton insisted so much that I should leave him, that I again bade him farewell, and followed and soon overtook the others. The reason that we started off in the day, was that it was raining quite hard, and we thought there would not be much danger in traveling, but we had not gone more than half way through the next prairie. when the weather cleared up, and we saw the whole Mexican army encamped at Texana, about two miles off; but they did not discover us, and we succeeded in reaching the timber on the Navidad. In the evening we walked out to a slight eminence which overlooked the prairie, to reconnoitre. While gazing across the prairie, we could see three men on horseback, but so indistinct were they, that we could not at first tell whether they were Americans or Mexicans. As they approached, we hid in the undergrowth; and as they passed, we saw that they were Mexican couriers returning to the command.
At eight we again started forth, and coming out on the prairie, we discovered a road, which we concluded had been made by the refugees in their retreat from the enemy. During all this time we had nothing to eat but leaves and herbs, and the two ears of corn that we got at the house on Lavacca river. On the twelfth day, we reached the Colorado, at Mercer's crossing. As we were very tired, we sat down on the bank to rest a little, before attempting to swim over. While sitting there, a dog on the opposite side of the river began to bark. When we heard that well-known sound, our very souls thrilled with joy, and that was the first time since the awful day of the massacre that a smile had ever illuminated our faces. We looked at each other, and then burst into a great big laugh. We were all good swimmers, but I some times took the cramp while swimming, so we concluded to cross on a log. We procured a dead mulberry pole, and hanging on to it, one at each end, and one in the middle, we crossed over to the land of freedom, and a land where we found plenty to eat. After recruiting a little, we procured horses, with the intention of joining Houston's army; but before we reached there, San Jacinto had been fought and won.
It was more than a year before I ever heard any thing of Hamilton. He remained in the same place where we left him nine days, some times lying in the pond of water, which assuaged the pain of his wounds. At the end of that time he was so much improved that he essayed to walk to Texana, and succeeded in doing so. He said the best eating he ever had in his life, was when he first entered Texana, and ate the meat from the rawhides the Mexicans had left. The next morning he took a skiff, and made his way down to Dimmitt's landing. He had scarcely reached there when he was taken prisoner by a Mexican soldier. Not long after, other soldiers came in, and tying Hamilton on a mule, started for camp. He suffered so much from his wounds that he fainted several times, on the way. Whenever this occurred, they would untie him, lay him on the ground, and throw water into his face until he revived, when they would again mount him on the mule and proceed on their way. Hamilton remained in their hands for sometime and gradually grew well of his wounds. There was a Mexican who waited on him, who seemed much attached to him, and Hamilton was led to place much confidence in him. One morning, this Mexican told him that if he wanted to live another day, he must make his escape that night, as he had learned that he and two other prisoners were to be shot before morning. Hamilton then arranged a plan for the escape of himself and two of his companions, which was a success, after many trials and tribulations.